IT’S THE BIGGEST WEEKEND IN FOOTBALL:
THE AFL grand final is finally here and Saturday will see which bird of prey will rule the roost for the next 12 months. Myrtleford’s Jack Crisp (left) is expected to play a pivotal role in the clash while Bright’s Ben Reid (banner) is an outside chance of making the team to counteract the tall timber of West Coast Eagles. Story in today’s sport. On a local level West Coast fans (pictured) Tim Longman and Matt Laurence will have their own battle for bragging rights with co-worker and Collingwood supporter Adrian Speziale.
I’ve learnt to not be too over confident in Wangaratta. I am calm, a little nervous, but calm.
- EAGLES FAN GLENN KEALY
Footy fans in Wangaratta are feeling the excitement surrounding this Saturday’s AFL grand final as the Magpies and Eagles prepare to face off.
Both individuals and businesses around town are decorating their sheds and offices with team colours, and some are working alongside supporters of the rival team.
West Coast fan Glenn Kealy has been living in Wangaratta for 20 years, but is originally from Western Australia, where he played for his local footy team which was sponsored by some of the original West Coast players.
“I’ve been a supporter since 1987 and being a part of the celebrations in 1992 and 1994 was amazing, it really brought the community together,” he said.
“My shrine is just a bit of fun where my mates will collect bits from second hand shops and cheap stores to add to it.
“Having these footy gatherings in my shed has really created great friendships and some excellent banter between mates.”
Glenn was given his father’s Eagles jersey when he passed away a few years ago, and it has been a great, sentimental addition to the shrine.
Despite being a fanatical supporter of his team, he is keeping his hopes for a win very low-key.
“I’ve learnt to not be too over confident in Wangaratta,” he said.
“I am calm, a little nervous, but calm.”
Other locals who aren’t keeping their confidence too calm are McDonald’s management staff and avid West Coast Eagles fans Tim Longman and Matt Laurence.
The pair has been flying their team’s colours around the office this week, much to the dislike of Magpies supporter and coworker Adrian Speziale.
Operations supervisor Tim is following in his father’s support of the team and also proudly stated that the eagle is the bigger bird.
“I’m pretty sure an eagle can pick up a small goat, so I’m sure it can pick up a magpie,” he said.
“I definitely am looking forward to a win on the weekend.”
General manager Matt Laurence said he chose his team as a child, when he decided he liked the colours.
“As a kid I just really liked the colours and now I’ve been supporting the team for 19 years,” he said.
“None of my family barrack for a team so I had to find my own, and I definitely have high hopes for them.”
Business manager Adrian Speziale, who is all alone in his support for Collingwood, said his father didn’t let him consider another team.
“It was definitely a family influence,” he said.
“I was born in Sydney so I wanted to go for the Swans but when I was about five Dad told me I had to go for the Magpies or he’d kick me out of the house so I didn’t really have a choice.
“I’ve been trying to get tickets to the game but no luck so far, I’d say I have high hopes; you don’t get into a grand final for nothing.”
GET READY: West Coast supporter Glenn Kealy with daughter Jemima are ready to watch the big match this Saturday.